By Catherine Reid
Boxer Reiss Taylor is set to become Britain’s smallest pro boxer – measuring just 4ft 11in.
Reiss, from Birmingham, West Midlands, is only just taller than the boxing ring ropes and struggles to clamber into the arena.
But the pocket rocket, who goes by the nickname Showy, is now preparing for his first professional fight which will make him Britain’s smallest pro boxer.
The 26-year-old will compete in the super flyweight division, weighing just 8st 3lbs and turned to boxing when he didn’t make it as a footballer.
The full-time carer said: “I was always short growing up.
“People would tease me but it was never with malice, and to be honest I gave as good as I got!
“I live on my own now and there are some boxes on top of cupboards that I have to climb and jump up for, but I’m used to it.”
Reiss turned to boxing six years ago after ‘falling out of love with football’.
The boxing ace was in Aston Villa’s academy for eight years, but sadly didn’t make it because of his height.
He said: “I got a bit fed up of football, and I wanted to try something new as well which is why I pursued boxing. “I think the reason I didn’t make it is because of my height, not my ability, and I fell out of love with the game.”
Reiss will compete as Showy ‘The Showman’ Taylor – a nickname he picked up in school.
But will he might struggle to clamber into the ring, Reiss certainly packs a punch once he’s in there.
The boxer is currently waiting for his final medical scans before the big match at Eastside gym.
Reiss, from Handsworth, said: “I expected to reach the standard of boxing that I’m at now eventually, but definitely not so soon.
“In a way, my height works as an advantage because it’s easier for me to get to the body.
“I’ve always been short and I’m used to my body now, so I play to my strengths.
“I’m quick on my feet, have good balance and am quick thinking too.
“I don’t get intimidated because I believe in my ability and in myself.”
The vegan is currently sparring with Brett Fidoe (5ft 2ins) and English champion Don Broadhurst (5ft 2½ins) in preparation for his big match.
The current flyweight titleholder, Francis Ampofo, is 5ft 0.5in, and eight years ago Liverpool’s Paul Lowe was set to become the world’s shortest fighter at just 4ft 8ins but he never actually competed.
Reiss added: “I’m going to embrace the fight just enjoy the moment, there’s no point being nervous.”